Kasey Kahne climbed through the field after starting in the back to win Sunday's Camping World Truck Series race at Rockingham Speedway, the first NASCAR race at the track since 2004.
Kahne started at the back of the field because he missed practice and qualifying thanks to his Sprint Cup duties at Texas Motor Speedway, but quickly broke into the top 10 and planted himself there. He took the lead under green from pole-sitter Nelson Piquet Jr., and stayed out front after a restart with 26 laps to go.
Piquet was starting to reel in Kahne before that caution flag, and exited the pits in second behind Kahne. However, he was tagged for speeding as he accelerated out of his pit box — the final pit stall on pit road — and had to start at the rear of the field. He finished seventh after dominating the race, leading 107 laps. (A Piquet win would have been symbolic of the changes in NASCAR since the sanctioning body's final race at The Rock in 2004, a track with limited corporate amenities that was struggling to sell tickets. Who would have thought eight years ago, the driver with the most laps led at the track's next NASCAR race would be a Brazilian former Formula 1 driver?)
The racing was great, thanks to Rockingham's abrasive surface, multiple grooves and significant tire fall-off. As NASCAR officials crowed about the sanctioning body's return to the track rehabbed by owner Andy Hillenburg, it sparked thoughts this was potentially a case of never missing a good thing until it's gone. And for the sake of racing and racing fans, let's hope the track isn't gone again any time soon.
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